Monday, November 23, 2015

Kyle Callahan Mysteries, Book 3 - Death by Pride

While this is technically the third book in Mark McNease's "Pride Trilogy," which began with Murder at Pride Lodge and continued with Pride and Perilous, it's actually the fourth book with Kyle Callahan and Det. Linda Sikorsky solving murders (as there was that short novel, Death in the Headlights, that was more focused on Sikorsky than Callahan).  However, I won't hold that against the author, as I've enjoyed the series for the most part.

This time around, Kyle and Linda are searching for a serial killer who the media has dubbed 'the Pride Killer.' This person killed gay men four years straight (no pun intended) during Pride Weekend in New York City, then mysteriously disappeared for three years.  Now, the killer is back at the same time that Linda visits Kyle and Danny in New York to see her first Pride Parade.  Needless to say, Kyle and Linda can't keep their nose out of it and set about trying to find the identity of the killer so he (or she) can be put behind bars for good.

I do enjoy the fact that the author allows the characters to grow with each book - Danny is now posed to take over Margaret's Passion, now that its owner and namesake is moving to Florida to retire; Linda has retired and started her antique/odds-and-ends store; and Kyle, while still working for Imogene, he is beginning to realize that sooner or later she's going to move on and where will that leave him.  Plus, Kyle and Danny get a very big surprise from Margaret, as sort of a parting gift before she leaves NYC.

I am a little annoyed with the constant shifting of POV.  I don't mind a chapter here or there from the killer's point of view (the book opens with the killer, so there is no surprise as to the identity - it's just waiting to see how he's going to be caught), but when there is shifting POV within each chapter, going from Kyle, to Linda, to Danny, then back to Kyle, all in the span of just a few paragraphs, it detracts from the even flow of reading.  For such good mysteries, though, it is something that can be overlooked.

What can't be overlooked in McNease's writing is the repetitiveness.  Over and over and over again throughout the story (pretty much every time Danny is mentioned), the reader has to read how Danny is saddened that Margaret is leaving, that he has worked for her for eleven years, that he promoted Chloe to day manager, blah, blah, blah.  Again and again and again and again.  Once or twice is okay, but hitting us over the head with the same sentences every time Danny is mentioned becomes redundant and just filler.  The same thing goes for Linda still being new to the "gay scene" and this being her first Pride.  By the end, you feel like the book could have been about two or three chapters shorter if the author had stopped repeating the same exposition over and over.

However, the murder mystery itself is well-plotted, and the last few chapters build up some great suspense as the killer sets his eyes on Danny, and Kyle and Linda race against time to rescue Kyle's husband from certain death.

McNease has said from the beginning this is a trilogy, but the epilogue to the book mentions a potential vacation in the future for our protagonists, and the Author's Notes at the end of the book hint at the possibility there may be another story in the future.  (Of course, the fact that Amazon lists a new book by McNease titled Kill Switch, described as the 5th installment in the Kyle Callahan mysteries, pretty much clinches it, eh?)

RATING:  7 rainbow flags out of 10 for giving readers an intriguing killer that makes you realize not everyone is always what they seem

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